Imagine leaving your home on any particular morning and noticing that the cars in your neighborhood all have flat tires. Up and down the block, in driveway after driveway, are cars parked with flat tires. And imagine that on your daily commute, the vast majority of cars on the expressway are actually making their way through traffic in cars without any air in their tires.
Upon arriving at work, or school, or the mall, it is the same thing - row upon row of cars parked without air in their tires. The strange thing is that virtually no one appears to give this a second thought. All over Western New York, cars are driving around very slowly, bumping up and down, with bent rims and shredded tires that need to be replaced every other week or so. Bizarre, right?
The point of that exercise is to illustrate the dysfunctional effects of the "sexual revolution" of the 1960s on our culture. Although sexual sin has been around since "the fall," the widespread acceptance of contraception and use of the birth control pill during the sexual revolution radically changed sexual mores.
At that point in human history, it became socially acceptable to separate the unitive aspect of the sex act from its procreative aspect. It became permissible to consider sex without consequences, or so it seemed. Soon after, the voices of the Culture of Death began to insist that, as biological beings, we could only be happy and fulfilled if we were free to express our sexuality any way we like, without restrictions. Virtually all of us have been negatively affected by these changes in moral behavior, even only if indirectly. Consider, for example, the challenges of Catholic parents trying to raise chaste teenagers in the face of the sex-saturated entertainment industry.
It seems incredible to me that almost the entire Western World - with the exception of the Catholic Church - has bought into this mass deception that we must have sex without restrictions to achieve happiness. You can't help but wonder how it's possible that modern civilization can criticize the Church for being archaic and oppressive in its teaching when you consider the evidence.
The widespread acceptance of sex without restrictions has left in its wake so much unhappiness as evidenced by so many broken hearts, broken lives, broken marriages, and broken families. This has been experienced through dramatically increased promiscuity, sexually transmitted diseases, fatherless single-parent homes, and high divorce rates, as well as so much loss of human life through abortion.
Despite all this brokenness, there is some good news. If our lives are in turmoil because we've bought into this lie - because we've misused this beautiful gift of our sexuality - then we need to know, or we need to be reminded, that neither Jesus nor His Church condemn us. The good news is that Jesus hasn't come into the world to haul our broken-down cars to the junkyard. Jesus has come to inflate our tires with air.
Regardless of our past or present sins, Jesus, through His cross, offers each of us the hope of a new beginning. Through His Church, Jesus teaches us how to live and express our sexuality in a beautiful and life-giving way.
Even more, He gives us His Holy Spirit. The Spirit is the air in our tires. Through His Spirit, Jesus empowers us to live chaste lives that are pleasing to the Father.
Deacon Michael Dulak is a peer consultant at the St. Gianna Molla Pregnancy Outreach Center and a member of the Project Rachel team for the Diocese of Buffalo. Comments can be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.